Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Dinner Is Korean Grill And Hotpot

Wild Boar and I decided to have grill and hotpot for our Christmas dinner. We both love grilled pork belly and to eat them wrapped in lettuce leaf (green coral ) with kimchi and roasted seaweed is truly delicious. Watching too many Korean dramas has greatly influenced my liking for Korean food.  Grilled pork belly wrapped with lettuce leaf into a little parcel ,with kimchi and roasted seaweed is one way of eating grill pork belly and this is the only time where I lose control over my meat intake :p  We simply added a pot on top of our griller and it instantly became a hotpot :)  Thus making our Christmas dinner a wonderful one !

my favourite plate and bowl for grill and hotpot

swiss brown mushrooms, enoki, lotus root, radish 
for the hotpot

chinese cabbage for hotpot

my favourite coral lettuce for the Korean grill,
sweet and crunchy, perfect for wrapping the grilled pork belly slices

beef balls for hotpot

beef tender loin slices marinated for the Korean grill

 lean pork belly slices perfect for Korean grill

bottom left -homemade kimchi - Korean grill
bottom right - roasted seaweed - Korean grill
top left - ginger and onions sauce - hotpot
top right - crispy fried garlic for hotpot

I added fresh pineapple for grill...simply refreshing
after a heavy intake of grilled meat :)

the smell of sizzling meat on grill whets my appetite

roasted seaweed is a must for us to have with Korean Grill

you can wrap grilled meat with roasted seaweed
it is so delicious and addictive

I can eat this everyday if health permits :)
After a heavy intake of meat,  weight lifting is added to my daily work out!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Eggplant Burger

Sunday is a day I will think of cooking something nice for the two of us.  A satisfying SUNDAY. To kill two birds with one stone, I decided to make this for our dinner.  Healthy Eggplant Burger with home sprouted sugar snow peas and homebaked burger buns. Craving to knead is strong and at the same time, the sprouts are ready for harvesting.  

It took me a few hours to make this delicious and at the same time healthy.  Hubby asked why I am making this for dinner, I told him simply because my hands are itchy to knead and my sprouts are ready for harvesting :)  Burger patties made from eggplant !!! For him a meat eater , it doesn't sound exciting for him , for I have a few tins of SPAM  ready for him, in case he doesn't like the vegan style of burger :p  Anyway, this is a to die for burger. The eggplant is so tasty .  I enjoyed two at one go while the hubby had his with slices of luncheon meat.  Hard to convince a meat eater :)  He missed a good healthy burger though :)

I am happy my burger buns turned out so good , shape and texture

the egg plant burger looks like beef burger :)

added cucumber pickles and tomato slices besides the
home sprouted peas shoots

 this added extra nutrients to the burger :)

love to stack up the burger 

Taste awesome... and who say
vegan burger doesnt taste good...

 you dont know what you are missing...this is yummy
good that I have added to my table menu

 the peas shoots taste good, young and tender
and fragrant..nothing beats homesprouted ones

my home sprouted dwarf sugar snow peas shoots

Eggplant Burger

Makes about 6 burger size patties

2 large japanese eggplant , peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion (or 2 scallions), thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 gr grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup / 3.4 oz / 96 gr almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)

*use vegan cheese to make them vegan

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large (preferable non-stick) skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and salt and saute’ for 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and saute’ for 1 further minute, until fragrant.

Finally add eggplant cubes and saute’ - stirring every now and then - until browned and soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl and puree/mash with an immersion blender (you can also use a food processor or a blender to do this).
Add cheese, parsley, black pepper and stir until well combined.
Add almond meal (or GF breadcrumbs) ¼ cup at a time and mix with your hands until it reaches a firm consistency and will hold up as patties (you might need to use more or less almond meal).
Transfer mixture to the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the almond meal to suck up some of the moisture.
Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and with dampened hands form 6 burger size patties.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet you used before over medium-high heat.
When sizzling, add patties (in batches if necessary) and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until browned.

Homemade Burger Bun


210g bread flour
60g plain flour
125ml full cream milk
42g caster sugar
half teaspoon of salt
4g instant yeast
30g beaten eggs 
84g water dough
22g unsalted butter

Recipe for the water dough "water roux":
Cook 125g water with 25g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until it become thicken and no lumps left. If you've a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C then turn of the heat. Cook it until quite liquid consistency like the baby porridge. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool down. Use only amount required. The rest can be kept in the fridge for 2 to 3 days only. If there is grey mold, throw away.

Method of making the bun :

Place all the ingredients for kneading except the butter until everything come together and become a smooth dough then add in the butter a little at a time.

Let the dough slowly absorb the butter. Gently knead till dough is smooth and not sticking to hand.

Let it proof for 50 to 60 minutes in a clean bowl cover with cling warp.

Divide the dough into even size of 6 portions or any size you like it to be then let it rest for 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into smooth round shape. Prepare some water on a a clean plate and place a kitchen towel on the top. Damp the surface of each dough and run the damp surface around a bowl of sesame seeds. Place the dough on a baking tray and let the it proof for 40 minutes. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes.

Enjoy !

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sambal Prawns With Stink Beans

Stink beans or Petai as Malaysians called them petai.  I started eating stink beans when I was 7 yrs old, and that is the time when I had my first taste of chilli.  Thus anything that is cooked with chilli has become my favourite.  My grandma was the first to introduce me and my brothers to spicy food.  And needless to say stink bean is the favourite of the family.  Whenever there are petai or stink beans sold in the market, be assured that we will be served this dish for our dinner.  That was the only time when the whole family sits together to have our meal.  

My grandma cooked the stink beans in simple style.  Just with dried shrimps and the pounded rempah that consists of serai, toasted belacan, dried chillies, fresh turmeric and shallots.  Simple and yet delicious.  With no assam paste, this taste good too.  Today , I will share my grandma simple sambal prawns with stink beans that can be served as side dish to nasi lemak and fried vermicelli. This is really good and I am sure you will want to cook this simple sambal prawns with stink beans for your family.

I bought 6 papan for RM9 from Tesco
 no worms , so worth it though it could
have been cheaper if I had bought from the orang Asli :p

this is how I cut open the skin of the stink bean,
cut a slit right across vertically and push out the bean

 red onions added for extra oomph
hubby loves red onions in his sambal petai

with just this one dish, I can have second helping
of rice :p

Sambal Prawns With Stink Beans


6 papan / stalks of stink beans - cut open and cut the beans into halves - wash and soak in cold water for extra crunch
1 large red onion - sliced
10 pieces of med sized sea prawns - remove shell, leave the tail intact
1/4 cup of dried shrimp - soak and pound coarsely
4 tbsp of rice bran oil or any vegetable oil
a pinch of salt and sugar for taste
1/4 cup of water

rempah paste for pounding

a handful of dried chilli ( if you want more heat, add more) - soak, and remove seeds
10 shallots
3/4 inch sq toasted belacan
1/2 thumb fresh turmeric
1 stalk of serai - sliced


Heat up oil in wok,  add in rempah and stir fry till fragrant, add in the pounded dried shrimps and continue to stir fry for another 15 mins till fragrant.  Add in 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook  till the rempah has thicken, add in the, sea prawns,  petai / stink beans and sliced onions, salt and sugar to taste. Continue to stir fry till the  prawns and stink beans are cooked through .  Dish up and serve.

Note: you can keep some in air tight container and serve as side dish for your fried noodles. Can keep a week in the fridge.

 Enjoy !

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Canned Sardine Fish Curry And Soft Chapati

I seldom serve canned sardine on the table unless it is for making sandwiches.  I have eaten many times canned sardine fish curry from the chapati stall but have never thought of cooking it myself until I discovered that it is actually an easy dish to prepare.  Of late , I have been making my own chapati from home as I have found an easy and foolproof recipe online.  Chapati goes well with dhal curry, but hubby asked to make canned sardine curry for a change.  I took up the challenge and googled for one that is easy to prepare and yet delicious.  I checked out my favorite blog - Nasilemaklover  and found the one that I have been looking for.   Her recipe is simple and looks good.  As I was cooking it, I knew hubby will love it, it smell really good and after tasting it, I knew this dish will be a popular demand from the hubby . I used Sonia's recipe but added green chilli and bird's eye chillies for extra heat.  It goes really well with the soft and fluffy chapati made from home. Nothing beats homecooked canned sardine curry and homemade soft and fluffy chapati.  This dish is a keeper for sure. Can be eaten with chapati or rice.

 the brand of sardine I used for making 
this sardine curry is King Cup, our fav brand

  I added green chilli and bird's eye chillies
 for extra heat

 homemade chapati are healthier as I omit using
it is still soft and fluffy even without the ghee

Canned Sardine Fish Curry - adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover


1 large can sardine  -  tomato sauce flavour
1 large tomato - diced
1 tbs of chopped ginger,garlic and onion
3 sprigs of curry leaves
1 red onion sliced
*1 green chilli - sliced  - optional
*3 bird's eye chillies - sliced  -optional
2 tbsp of cooking oil
100 ml water

1/2 tsp mixed mustard seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish curry powder -  * I used Alagappa brand
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder

1. Remove sardines from can, retain the tomato sauce
2. Pan fried sardines (without oil ) in a non stick pan, till both sides turned brown, set aside
3. Heat oil in a wok, add in ginger, garlic and onion paste and curr leaves, saute till fragrant.
4. Add in mustard, coriander and cumin seeds, mix well.
5. Add in the canned sardine's tomato sauce and water, add in the seasonings.
6. Once sauce boiled, add in the pan fried sardines, cook for another 1 min.
7. Add in diced tomato and onion slices, cook for another 1 min.
8. Dish out, serve hot with steam rice.

* this dish can be eaten with chapati, rice or bread

Soft Chapati
(make six 4 inch round Chapatis )

1 cup Atta flour
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp salt


1. Put one cup of atta flour in a bowl. Add half a cup of hot water and mix with a spatula or spoon. When there is no more water visible, stop mixing. Cover bowl and let it rest for 30 mins.

2. After 30 mins, add the salt, gently mix the dough for 2 mins, just enough to gather the dough into one piece. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 mins.

3. Divide the dough into lime size balls. Set an iron griddle on medium high heat. Let it become hot. Take a dough ball and generously dust it with flour. Roll the dough into a 4 inch round . Place the chapati on the hot griddle. Let it cook for 10 to 15 seconds until bubbles starts to form on top. Flip the chapati and cook for 30 seconds more. Gently press on top of the chapati to make the chapati fluff up. Flip one more time and press on top. Chapati should beautifully fluff up.

Storing Chapati:
Line a bowl with cotton towel. Place the cooked chaapati on the bowl and cover with a towel. Chapati will stay beautifully soft for a long time.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin With Nestum Cereal Flakes

Each time I tasted something nice in a restaurant or any food stall, I will want to replicate it.  I find it more challenging than to just follow a recipe from my wide collection of  cookbooks.  Able to taste it and come back home to try replicate the dish to near 90% is an accomplishment for a home cook like me. I once ate this deep fried beancurd skin with nestum cereal flakes at a noodle shop and I loved it so much so that I came back home, tried a few times but was not happy with it and yesterday I managed to get it correct or at least 90% near to the original :)  This is an easy to make finger food that has to be consumed fast or it will turned soft. Eat it within 30 mins, it will still remains crispy and crunchy.  But not to worry, it finishes fast when it comes to this kind finger food.  Hubby loves it too and we will be fighting for the last piece LOL!  This will be another popular request from the hubby  :)

 beancurd skin for making lobak

prawn, minced meat and fish paste

spread a thin layer of prawn and fish paste on the  
surface of the beancurd skin

after applying a layer of paste, coat the surface with nestum cereal
 then deep fried in oil till crispy and golden brown

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin With Nestum Cereal

1 piece of beancurd skin ( for making lobak ) - cut into 3"x 3" squares
100 gm prawn  , mince meat and fish paste  - ready made fish paste (40 gm ) minced meat (20 gm) from fishmonger + fresh prawns (40 gm) chopped finely
1 cup of nestum cereal flakes
1 egg - beaten - add a pinch of salt, a shake of pepper

oil for deep frying

Prepare the prawn and fish paste .  Add finely chopped prawns (30gm) to the ready made fish paste (50gm ) mix together with chopsticks till well blended. Leave aside.

Open up the beancurd skin and cut into 3" x 3" square.  Spread a thin layer of prawn and fish paste on surface. Apply beaten egg on top of prawn fish paste layer, then coat with nestum cereal flakes till it is well coated.  Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown.  Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

* note: oil must be hot before putting in the beancurd skin. Use a wooden chopstick to test out, If there is bubble around the chopstick end. It is ready for deep frying. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Drunken Chicken Roll

Chicken meat can be prepared in many ways.  We can roast, stew, stir fry or poach them but today I am going to share with you another way to prepare chicken meat.  I remembered I did a cold version of drunken wings some years back . And it was a hit with the family.

To make a simplified version, I pressure cooked ginseng chicken soup for the family and took out a bowl to make drunken chicken roll.  I used two chicken leg, deboned them , season with salt and pepper , then rolled them up and tie with string to hold the shape.  Steamed the chicken rolls till cooked.  Add 1/3 cup of chinese cooking wine to the prepared ginseng soup and pour over the cooked rolls and soaked overnight in the fridge. Serve them chilled as appetiser or as a main dish.  A very delicious dish to serve the family or when you have guests to dinner :)

steam them for 20 mins till cooked

I skip the step of resting them in cold water to lock up the can do that if you want but I let it cool down 
before pouring the ginseng wine soup over them

soak over night so that the ginseng wine flavored soup
get infused into the chicken rolls

my microwave tupperware comes in handy for this dish

when serving , remove the string and cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices

to make it look more appetising, I make a spicy cucumber
salad to go with it.  Yummz!

Drunken Chicken Roll

ginseng soup - one free range chicken , two ginseng roots, red goji , water enough to cover the chicken.  Pressure cook soup . Add salt to taste. Take out soup enough to cover the chicken rolls. The rest of the soup to be served as soup for the family.

2 chicken legs - deboned, keep skin intact
salt and pepper for seasoning the deboned legs
string for tying

1/3 cup chinese cooking wine - add to the prepared ginseng soup

To make spicy cucumber salad
2 japanese cucumber - slice thinly
2 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge.  Serve with the drunken chicken rolls


1. Deboned the chicken legs, keep skin intact.  Season with salt and pepper. Roll the deboned legs with skin facing down. Tie with string on both ends and middle of the rolls.  Place the rolled up chicken legs on a place and steam for 20 mins till cooked.  Take out and let it cool down. ( you can rest in cold water for 10 mins to lock in the juices but I skipped this step ) 

2.  Place the chicken rolls in a container and pour the prepared ginseng soup ( added with chinese wine) onto the chicken rolls. Let the rolls sit in the ginseng soup overnight in the fridge.  When serving, remove the string and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange neatly on plate and serve chilled.  Serve with spicy cucumber salad as an appetiser or even as a main dish if you desire.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dhal Curry And Soft Chapati

WB and I had a sudden craving for homecooked Dhal Curry.  I googled for a easy one and found one from Sonia's blog - Nasi Lemak Lover.  I love all her recipes.  I gave her recipe a tweak and  added eggplant to it and used fresh turmeric instead of tumeric powder and added more dried chillies for extra heat . I have frozen blended turmeric         ( homegrown ) from the last harvest. I prefer fresh turmeric :p One thing about dhal curry is you can add any vegetables you like . A vegan dish that is nutritious, flavorful and delicious.   Dhal curry be eaten with chapati ( indian flatbread ) or rice.  I have not cooked this curry for a long time and am surprised that with Sonia's recipe, I did better than before.  Hubby complimented the dish . Thank you Sonia for sharing your dhal curry recipe :)  It is truly delicious ! And a keeper for sure.

  I added eggplant, more dried chillies for extra heat
and fresh turmeric instead of powder form :)
 fry the spices till fragrant
before adding the soaked dhal in

it is best to soak the dhal in water for 2 hours
to shorten the cooking time

 simmer for 1 hour to 1.5 hours under medium low fire
or till dhal has soften and gravy has thicken

 dhal curry can be served with rice or chapati

Dhal Curry - adapted from Sonia
 with some tweaks

1/2 cup dhal - washed, then soaked in water for 2 hours
3 green chillies - sliced
3 shallots- sliced
3 cloves garlic- sliced
1 large tomato - remove seeds - diced
1  large potato - diced
1 carrot - diced
1 small eggplant - diced
4 - 6 dried chillies -  *depends on how much heat you want
3 sprig of curry leaves

water -  1.5 litres
1 tsp of turmeric powder or 1/2 tbsp of fresh turmeric (pounded)
1/2 tbsp mixed indian herbs ( mustard seeds, cummin seeds etc...get from indian grocery shop)
salt to taste
1 tbsp of oil

1. Heat oil in a wok, add in shallots, garlic, mixed indian herbs, stir fry till fragrant.
2. Add in green chilli and curry leaves, continue to stir fry for a while. Add in the tomato, potato, eggplant, and carrot, mix well.  Then add in dhal and water followed by fresh turmeric (blended) or turmeric powder.
3.Simmer for 1 -1.5 hours over low heat or until dhall has soften (mushy look) and gravy has thicken.
Serve with rice or chapatis.

The Making of Soft Chapati

I have been searching on how to make soft chapati...after gathering some tips from all over the internet, I  put all together and make my own soft chapati.  Haven't really perfected the recipe , but it is still the best I have ever made.  I am using a technique used in baking bread called autolyse. The word sounds frightening but it is nothing but a resting period between mixing and kneading.  It helps the flour to absorb more liquid.  This is quite interesting . Instead of using room temperature water, I used hot water . ( it helps make the chapati softer )  You will notice that I did not use Ghee . This is a healthy version. The chapati remains soft when I store them in air tight tupperware. And I prepared them half a hour before meal time.  The chapati remained soft and warm.

 add hot water to the atta flour
and gently mix the flour and water till just mixed .
 Over mixing will activate the gluten
too much and interfere in absorption of water by the flour

once the flour and liquid is mixed like the picture above, 
 cover with a cloth and leave it to rest 30 mins
do not form a ball yet.

I always set the timer :) when resting the dough

 divide into equal balls , each ball about the size a lime

dust the board with atta flour
and roll the ball into a 4 inches disc

 place the chapati on a hot griddle

Soft Chapati
(make six 4 inch round Chapatis )

1 cup Atta flour
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp salt


1. Put one cup of atta flour in a bowl. Add half a cup of hot water and mix with a spatula or spoon. When there is no more water visible, stop mixing. Cover bowl and let it rest for 30 mins.

2. After 30 mins, add the salt, gently mix the dough for 2 mins, just enough to gather the dough into one piece. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 mins.

3. Divide the dough into lime size balls. Set an iron griddle on medium high heat. Let it become hot. Take a dough ball and generously dust it with flour. Roll the dough into a 4 inch round . Place the chapati on the hot griddle. Let it cook for 10 to 15 seconds until bubbles starts to form on top. Flip the chapati and cook for 30 seconds more. Gently press on top of the chapati to make the chapati fluff up. Flip one more time and press on top. Chapati should beautifully fluff up.

Storing Chapati:
Line a bowl with cotton towel. Place the cooked chaapati on the bowl and cover with a towel. Chapati will stay beautifully soft for a long time.

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